The job began on a high note: The company and position were “perfect” for your career path, and you enjoyed your work and colleagues. But two years later, things have changed. You have to drag yourself to the office each day and are frequently passed over for plum projects. The company that welcomed you with open arms seems to be attempting (oh so subtly) to shove you out the back door. You wonder: Is the situation as bad as it seems or are you simply being paranoid? Following are some “no excuses” means of evaluating your job standing:
- You’re never offered choice assignments. The agency you work for has secured a new, high-profile client. This customer wants a hip and innovative ad campaign, and you think you’re just the person for the job. While you’ve expressed to your boss the reasons why you’d be a great fit for the project, you’re passed over. You also aren’t given the opportunity to assist with the next assignment – or the one after that. In fact, all of your peers have worked on this campaign, except you. What does it mean? While it’s possible you were passed over once because your supervisor wanted to keep you on another project, it doesn’t make sense for you to be routinely overlooked for high-profile assignments. Most likely it means your manager doesn’t believe you are up to the task. If being denied the best projects has become a regular occurrence in your job, it’s a major sign that you’re stuck in a rut and may need to switch gears.
- You get the silent treatment. Your manager has weekly check-in meetings with your colleagues and routinely drops by to ask about their weekend plans, but she rarely stops to chat with you. Similarly, you don’t get the praise you’ve noticed others receive. (It’s almost as though you don’t exist.) You’ve tried numerous times to strike up conversations with your supervisor and have even asked for feedback on your work, but despite your best efforts, you’re still ignored. The truth? You clearly aren’t a priority, which is a strong sign that it’s time to move on.
- You haven’t been promoted when others have. You’ve watched as your co-workers have been awarded new titles or promoted to positions with increased responsibility. Despite exhibiting clear interest in moving up in the company, your position hasn’t changed since you started. If you’re treading water in your current role, despite your best efforts to swim, it’s probably time to dive into a new position.
- You’re not consulted about changes that will affect your job. You find out at a meeting that your department is being merged with another. Nobody seems surprised but you. You also are the last to find out about two new hires who have joined the team and a major account the firm just landed. While it’s normal not to know every aspect of your company’s plans, if you’re routinely left in the dark — and other people aren’t — it could be time to look for a new position.
- You feel alienated by your co-workers. When you first joined the company, you frequently went out to lunch or for drinks with your fellow designers. You were privy to the company’s “inside scoop” and found out which clients were the most challenging to work with and what assignments might be coming up in the future. But over the past year, it seems your co-workers have distanced themselves from you. And you know they’re still hanging out — just not with you. The upshot? You probably aren’t being oversensitive. Employees will often steer clear of a sinking ship — and in this case, that ship may be you.
- You have no contact with clients. Firms like to appear stable to their clients, so they rarely have someone who’s on shaky ground interact with key business contacts. Staying behind the scenes may be nothing to worry about if those in your position rarely interact with clients. But if your peers are frequently communicating with customers, and your boss routinely goes out of his way to keep you off the front lines, it may be time for a fresh start at a new firm.
If the company you work for is just not that into you, you may find the feeling is mutual. It may well be time to strike out on your own and find a design job you feel passionate about — where your feelings are returned. After all, you want to work where you can thrive and build your experience. If your present employer doesn’t fit the bill, you may find that parting ways is the best route to finding a job worthy of your professional commitment.